News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 29, 2013

A throwback party for the new year

The Roaring ’20s to roar in 2014

TERRE HAUTE — One downtown Terre Haute event on New Year’s Eve will take party-goers back to the glitz and glamour of the 1920s as they ring in 2014.

The organizers at the Vigo County Historical Society Museum are excited about throwing the “Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Gala,” a party/fundraiser which is scheduled from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday at the Indiana Theatre located at Seventh and Ohio Streets.

A live swing band will entertain guests — about 300 of them are expected — to 1920s music as they sip on Prohibition-style cocktails and nibble on hors d’oeuvres. There will be two dance floors, a cash bar, a silent auction and a champagne toast at midnight.

Assistant Director Barbara Carney said that although the group has organized New Year’s Eve parties in recent years, this year’s gala is going to be “a really special one.”

This is the first year they will have a themed party, organizers said.

“Being a historical museum, we wanted to have a fun party that centered around a historical theme,” Susan Tingley, development director at the museum, said.

The chosen theme, Carney said, appeals to many people, perhaps because of the remake of “The Great Gatsby,” a 2013 movie about the life of a millionaire and his neighbor at the height of the Roaring ’20s. It was an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.

“That [the movie] has brought attention to that era,” she said.

An era of excitement and fun.

“In a way, the 1920s was kind of a wild and crazy time. The dances were fast-paced. ... It was sort of a daring, fast paced era in our history,” Carney said.

Even in Terre Haute.

“1920s in Terre Haute was a very exciting time,” Tingley said, adding that as the crossroads of America, Terre Haute was visited by a lot of touring musicians and famous people.

The 1920s make for a good party theme with big bands and dancing, Tingley said.

And the era, the historical society and the Indiana Theatre have an important connection.

The Indiana Theatre opened in 1922, the same year that the historical society was formed, Tingley said.

Not a lot of decorating is needed to get the place looking like the 1920s because  “it is definitely from that era,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful building and ... perfect for a 1920s-themed party,” she added.

Guests are invited to don their 1920s-inspired attire, but it is also black tie optional.

Also at the event, guests can purchase items to add to their 1920s wardrobe from the “Props Shoppe.” Headbands, boas and other items will be available.

Tickets for the event are $50 per person. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

“It will support the historical society in its operations but also keeping in mind that we will be moving to a new location,” Carney said.

“Come to the party to support the Vigo County Historical Society and Museum. The support of our friends allows us to continue to provide the many services we have at the museum,” Tingley said.

“It’s going to be a glitzy, glamorous, fun way to ring in the new year,” she added.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or

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